In a conversation with a colleague, it was suggested that common cooking oils such as olive oil will "go rancid" when heated, causing them to break down, for them to lose their nutritional value, and for them to become in some way bad for you. Further, it was suggested that coconut oil is the only oil that does not suffer from this behaviour.

Authority Nutrition somewhat supports this claim:

When it comes to high heat cooking, coconut oil is your best choice.

Meanwhile, Healthwyze contradicts it:

Coconut oil should only be used in low heat or no heat recipes.

Is coconut oil suitable for high temperature cooking? Is it the 'best' at avoiding going rancid when cooked?

  • Has anyone heard this claim? Is it notable?
    – Oddthinking
    Sep 24, 2014 at 0:39
  • best... for what? No oil goes rancid during cooking. Oils go rancid over a long period of time (long varying from days to weeks or months, depending on the type of oil and how it's been treated).
    – Flimzy
    Sep 24, 2014 at 1:12
  • 3
    This seems like a question for the cooking stackexchange.
    – Brian S
    Sep 24, 2014 at 2:27
  • 1
    @Flimzy: Source? Rancidification is an oxidation reaction, and many such reactions occur much more rapidly at high temperature, so it's not totally implausible. Sep 24, 2014 at 5:31
  • 3
    I posted this question here rather than on cooking as my initial research indicated the presence of a significant industry of coconut-oil promoters overlapping with the health fringe. Therefore I felt I needed some baloney busting help from this SE to cut through it all, rather than a strictly cooking-oriented response.
    – jl6
    Sep 24, 2014 at 6:50

1 Answer 1


Coconut Oil does suffer from this behaviour, and its smoke point is 175 +/- 4°C which is lower than other common cooking oils:

So, your friend and Health Nutrition are wrong. Healthwyze is right.


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